Chapter 10: Fluency Instruction
Teaching Reading Sourcebook 2nd edition
- To develop fluency instruction one must focus on the three elements of fluent reading: accuracy, rate, and prosody.
- Instructional methods can be grouped into three categories, which in actual practice overlap.
- A fourth category focuses on the integration of the following:
- Independent silent reading
- Assisted reading
- Repeated oral reading
Instructional methods focused on connected text can be grouped into three main categories: independent silent reading, assisted reading, and repeated oral reading.
In actual practice, these categories often overlap. A fourth category focuses on integrated fluency instruction.
- Students need to hear proficient fluency models to learn how a reader’s voice can help make sense of text.
- Methods of assisted reading include
- Teacher-assisted reading
- Peer-assisted reading
- Audio-assisted reading
- All forms emphasize extensive practice to improve students’ fluency.
- Teacher-assisted reading: expressive reading modeled through reading aloud.
- Peer-assisted reading: paired reading with feedback from more fluent reader.
- Audio-assisted reading: expressive reading modeled by computer, CD or audio tape.
Repeated Oral Reading
- Practice is the key to fluency.
- Repeated readings involve rereading a text to build both automaticity and fluency. (i.e. choral reading, Readers Theatre, etc.)
- Repeated oral reading is flexible and can be adapted in many ways such as
- the number of readings;
- the instructional groupings;
- the purpose for reading.
- Number of readings: Students either read and reread a text until a level of fluency is met or they read text a set number of times (three to four benefit most).
- Instructional groupings: Include individually with adult, pairs, small groups, or a whole class.
- Purpose for reading: Students devote each reading to a different purpose ( 1st read: identify character motivation, 2nd read identify setting, etc.).
Methods of Repeated Oral Reading
- Timed repeated oral reading
- Self-timed repeated oral reading
- Partner reading
- Phrase-cued reading
- Readers Theatre
- Radio reading
- Choral reading
- Duet reading
- Echo reading
- Reading with Recordings
See Research-Based Methods of Repeated Oral Reading chart on page 365 for descriptions of each.
Choosing the Right Text
- Texts students read to develop fluency should be chosen carefully. Criteria include
- Text length: 50-200 words with shorter passages for beginning and struggling readers and longer passages for better readers;
- Text content: choosing the right passage can be the key to motivation; the more that words overlap between texts with common themes, the more transfer there is of fluent reading;
- Level of text difficulty: an essential requirement for repeated oral reading is that the text be at the correct level of difficulty for each student.
Passages should vary in genre with short stories, magazine and newspaper articles, poetry etc.
How to Determine the Level of Text Difficulty
- Administer a one minute timed reading assessment of a 100-120 word passage to calculate the CWPM.
- Calculate the percent of words read correctly or percent of accuracy. (If a student read 112 words correctly out of a 120 word passage: 112 divided by 120 = .93 or 93% accuracy.)
- Compare the student’s accuracy level with the levels of text difficulty
- 95-100% Independent level
- 90-94% Instructional level
- Less than 90% Frustration level
When to Teach
- Not every student needs instruction for fluency building. Assessment determines if and what kind of fluency instruction is needed (e.g. accuracy, rate, prosody).
- In grades K-2, students need daily opportunities to hear text read aloud in a fluent, prosodic manner.
- In grade 1, students need daily opportunities for guided repeated oral readings; in grades 2-5, practice reading aloud with corrective feedback.
- Although most oral reading fluency rates do not significantly increase beyond grade 6, all students need ample amounts of reading practice in a wide range of texts.
Chapter 9: Fluency Assessment
Teaching Reading Sourcebook 2nd edition
- Consists of collecting information about students’ oral reading accuracy, rate, and prosody;
- Provides an overall estimate of a student’s reading proficiency;
- Is a strong predictor of success in reading comprehension;
- Is a key to preventing reading difficulties;
- Provides information to guide instruction and improve student outcomes.
Assessment of Oral Reading Fluency
- The combination of oral reading rate and
accuracy is the oral reading fluency (ORF).
- The assessment tool that is used most for measuring ORF is Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM).
- ORF CBM provides a reliable and valid way to
- identify students who are at risk for reading failure;
- identify which students are not making adequate progress given the instruction they receive;
- identify students’ instructional level;
- identify which students need additional diagnostic re-evaluation.
CBM is an assessment that includes a set of standard directions, a timing device, a set of passages, scoring rules, standards for judging performance, and record forms or charts.
Administering an Oral Reading Fluency CBM Assessment
- The student reads for one minute from an unpracticed, grade-level passage.
- The teacher follows along with a copy of the passage and marks any student errors.
- The ORF is determined by subtracting the number of errors from the total number of words read. This is expressed as words correct per minute (WCPM).
- To monitor progress, the scores can be recorded on a graph.
- The graph’s visual form is helpful in interpreting the scores and in helping students see their growth.
Oral Reading Fluency Performance Expectations
- One way to set standards for fluency performance
is to compare students’ ORF scores to the National norm.
- National norms provide WCPM scores for students in grades 1-8 during three different assessment time periods a year. (fall, winter, spring)
- The norms are listed as percentile scores. (90,75, 50, 25, and 10)
- These norms can help indicate whether a student’s fluency growth meets grade-level expectations or is increasing at a normal rate.
See the Oral Reading Fluency Norms chart for grades 1-8 (Hasbrouck and Tindal 2006) on page 331.
Diagnosis of Dysfluent Reading
- Teachers must gather more in-depth
information to determine the area of weakness that is causing the fluency problem.
- Common causes of dysfluency include deficits in phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, language syntax, and content knowledge.
- A “speed-accuracy” trade off occurs when students
- slow down because they are too concerned with accuracy;
- make many mistakes in an attempt to read text too quickly.
Assessment of Prosodic Reading
- Unlike rate and accuracy, prosody is more difficult to measure reliably, but it is often important to assess.
- To measure prosodic reading, the teacher listens to a student orally read an independent-level passage and then compares the characteristics of the student’s prosodic reading to a rating scale or rubric.
- Prosodic reading rubrics may include stress, phrasing, intonation, expression, pauses, attention to punctuation, etc.
See the Prosody Assessment Rating Scale on page 334.
When to Assess
- Except for first grade, students should be screened at the beginning of the year and monitored three times a year. (fall, winter, and spring)
- Monitoring for those not making adequate progress should be at least one or two times a month.
- Less is known about the usefulness of ORF screening and monitoring of adolescent students. The average levels of oral reading fluency stabilize at around 150 WC for students at the end of 6th-8th grades, when reading grade level texts.
ORF and Upper Grade Students
- Some researchers believe that Maze CBM may be a better predictor of upper-grade students’ future reading performance than ORF CBM.
- In Maze CBM, a student reads a passage silently rather than aloud; at about every seventh word the student must choose the word that makes the most sense in the sentence from a group of three possible words. This cloze type assessment appears to be slightly more valid than ORF for its relationship to comprehension.
In grades 4 and up, comprehension begins to depend more on content knowledge, vocabulary, and knowledge of expository text structures.